Sunday, 26 April 2009

Review So Far: Red Bull

Two headlines dominate any review of Red Bull's season so far and those are the breakthrough win for the team in Shanghai and their split diffuser beating pace amid so many complaints from other teams.

The source of the Adrian Newey designed Red Bull's pace early on was their ability to warm up the tyres in the wet conditions better than the rest of the field, in Sepang and Shanghai this was critical to the teams significant successes.

The team has developed clearly the best car of the field that hasn't exploited the split diffuser design concept yet. Newey has opted for a unique pull rod suspension layout that has so far paid dividends in giving them good race and qualifying pace.

In Sakhir Red Bull proved a challenge for Brawn in the dry, on another day with luck on their side Red Bull could be celebrating two wins in a row. Fantastic start to the season for the boys from Milton Keynes.

Mark Webber:
Pre-season preparations took a severe blow for the likeable Aussie when he broke his leg in a cycling accident. This restricted him to virtually no running in the significantly different 2009 spec Red Bull car putting him behind team mate Vettel before a wheel was turned in anger.

Despite this though Mark has had a strong start in a very good car. A poor start in Australia was followed up with a great drive once the rain began falling in Sepang and a fantastic supporting role in the Red Bull 1-2 in China before another difficult weekend after being blocked in qualifying for Bahrain.

Mark is driving quickly and strongly, but doesn't seem to be able to match his young German team mate. I think Webber may be heading down the career path of other likeable nearly men like Ricardo Patrese, David Coulthard and Rubens Barrichello

However I see a debut win for Mark coming sometime this year and a good strong championship showing, but he will fall short of challenging Vettel for top Red Bull honours.

Sebastien Vettel:
A stunning showing last season has been followed up with a fantastic start to 2009 for the young German.

He has consistently been Buttons closest challenger, pushing Jenson hard in the season opener in Melbourne before tangling with Kubica, showing there is still some maturing for both of those young hotshots to do.

A difficult race in Malaysia after showing good pace in the race was followed up by the stunning lights to flag victory in the downpour of Shanghai, it was very reminiscent of that first win in Monza last year.

And Vettel again proved stunningly quick in Bahrain but got stuck in traffic at crucial stages in the race and ended up second to Jenson Button.

Vettel is proving himself to be a real talent and a genuine title challenger this year. He needs Red Bull to provide him with a strong car for the rest of the season and he will push Jenson and Brawn hard, but a lack of maturity may cost him in the end compared to the experience of Brawn, Button and Barrichello.

Rest of the Season:
Red Bull have certainly got wings this year and have every chance of pushing on for further wins and mounting a Strong title challenge. 

The typical Newey trait of a slightly fragile car may rear it's head and hurt Red Bull on occasion and I think they will just fall short this year, but second place in the Constructors championship should be achieveable if the new Diffuser works well when it is introduced.

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